Pune: FC Pune City rode on Dudu Omagbemi's double strike to record a convincing 2-0 win over Mumbai City, the result virtually knocking the visitors out of a semifinal reckoning while keeping alive the home side's chances in the Hero Indian Super League, here yesterday.
Dudu rose to the occasion with two second half goals (66th and 80th minutes) to send Franco Colomba's men soaring up to the fourth spot in the ISL table. The match could have gone the other way had Tiago Ribeiro converted a penalty in the 51st minute for the visitors. The only downside for the victors was the expulsion of their head coach for entering the pitch in celebration of his side's goals.
It was a frantic start to a very entertaining first period. The home side was off the blocks almost immediately with the Nigerian striker testing Subrata Paul from distance. The India No 1 keeper was up to the task however and thwarted a wave of Pune attacks. Pune really should have taken the lead through Dudu again but Paul stood firm once more.
Park Kwang-Il, playing on the left side of the midfield, was a livewire throughout but even he was guilty of missing a good chance. Kostas Katsouranis and Jermaine Pennant also fluffed their lines. Manuel Friedrich and Abhishek Yadav came closest to opening the scoring for the away side. Both however, missed their headers from Ribeiro's corners.
In the second session, Pune looked like the only team who showed up. Mumbai made a half-time change bringing in Subhash Singh for Sushil Kumar Singh. But that did not make a difference to the home side as they continued to push forward. Against the run of play however, Mumbai were awarded a penalty when Pritam Kotal stuck his hand out to control a cross in his area. Ribeiro stepped up and hit it to the right of Arindam Bhattacharya who got down well to make the stop and become the first keeper to save a penalty in the tournament.
A few minutes later, Krisztián Vadócz had the ball in the Mumbai net but it was chalked off for a handball. The home side finally got the reward for their persistence in the 66th minute when Dudu, who was lying injured on the pitch moments before, collected a cross from the left on his chest and volleyed it past an impressive Paul.
Pune got a second in the 80th minute when Park put a low cross into the box. A poor clearance saw the ball fall for Katsouranis who snatched at a shot. Dudu was however on hand to backheel it past Paul. Peter Reid has a lot of thinking to do ahead of his cellar side's next clash against Atlético de Kolkata at home on December 7 while Pune will feel more comfortable at home meeting Delhi Dynamos FC a day before.